In The Treasure Principle Alcorn seeks to motivate believers to think "eternally" about every giving, saving and spending decisions. This is the heart of true stewardship.
The main principles of the book are:
1. God owns everything. I am His money manager.
2. My heart always goes where I put God's money.
3. Heaven, not Earth, is my home.
4. I should live for the line (eternity), not the dot(short life on earth).
5. Giving is the only antidote for materialism.
6. God prospers me not to raise my standard of living, but to raise my standard of giving.
This small, persuasive and popular book (5 STAR ranking on AMAZON) is organized around the six principles.
The value and importance of each principle is magnified in each of the six chapters. On the last page, the reader is invited to sign "My Giving Covenant" to live by the six principles. The book is written to lead readers to make a decision now.
There are many memorable comments that are very quotable.
Here are a few:
ܦ "We're most like God when we're giving." --Dixie Fraley
ܦ "As thunder follows lightning, giving follows grace."
ܦ "When God's grace touches you, you can't help but respond."
ܦ "The more things we own...the more they grip us, setting us in orbit around them."
ܦ "As surely as the compass needle follows north, your heart will follow your treasure."
ܦ "God owns every treasure. I'm his investment manager."
ܦ "I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -- Martin Luther
ܦ "Even many Christians have settled for a lilfe of unsatisfying material acquisitions
There are good stories.
One is about Alfred Nobel who was shocked to find his obituary in the newspaper. It described him as one who "gotten rich by helping people kill one another." As a result of that comment, he resolved to change his legacy and did so by working for peace and leaving money for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Alcorn is also a strong advocate of tithing not as the "ceiling of giving, but the floor."
I am uncomfortable with an eschatological perspective of stewardship that places so much emphasis on the conviction that good stewardship leads to the reward of eternal treasure. In my mind, God's call is to live as faithful stewards of life now, in relationship to all human beings and with all creation.
George Johnson, who was a former parishioner in a congregation I served, would say about such an emphasis, "They become so heavenly minded they are no earthly good."
Having said that, I think the book has helpful, thoughtful material that can be used for newsletters, sermons and discussion starters.
The "decision-making" character makes this different from all the other books I have read on stewardship. Many of us are timid when it comes to talking straight with people about faith and money. We would do well to be more bold in inviting people to change their lives and live in a discipline that is an expression of abundant life now and eternally.
Review by Jerry Hoffman
March 22, 2003
Randy Alcorn is the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries dedicated to teaching biblical truth and drawing attention to the needy and how to help them.
Image credit: © Ignacio García Losa (ignaciogarcialosa.com) via Flickr. Used by permission.